The ‘dead months” for Broadway begin in January with the start of the calendar year and stretch into early March. It’s a time that can be tough on Broadway ticket sales, as people are often low on cash due to holiday spending. Also, the unpredictable and unkind weather, short days and cold nights, and a general letdown after all of the hustle and bustle that defines the time from Thanksgiving through to New Year’s, contribute to uneven ticket sales.
Mid-January Box Office Figures
The box office numbers as reported by Playbill.com for the week ending January 18, 2015, reveal an overall uptick from those for the week ending January 11th. Most plays and musicals showed an increase in ticket sales for the week running from the 12th to the 18th. Where as for the week ending January 11th every show, except Aladdin and The Book of Mormon, saw a decline from the week prior, which included New Year’s.
Shows that experienced a decline in sales for the week ending January 18th were Cabaret (-1.4%), Chicago (-5.8%), It’s Only a Play (-5.0%), Jersey Boys (-6.3%), Les Misérables (-5.9%), The Lion King (-1.0%), and The Phantom of the Opera (-8.8%). Mamma Mia! posted the only double-digit dovetail, with sales down 12.8%,
Shows Trending Upward
Of the 29 shows presently running on Broadway, 21 either showed no decline or enjoyed an increase in sales. That means 74% of the shows experienced either improved or stable tickets sales.
The show that saw the biggest increase was the revival of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama A Delicate Balance. There was a 10.1% increase in sales, as the John Golden Theatre reached 83.4% capacity. Two other revivals rebounded nicely, as On the Town notched an increase of 7.7%, going from 58.1% to 65.8%, and You Can’t Take It With You received a 7.2% bump, as it went from 61.3% capacity to 68.5%.
Honeymoon in Vegas
The new musical Honeymoon in Vegas, which garnered wonderful reviews during the week, went from 78.5% to 81.5% capacity. It will be interesting to see if what appears to be the first big hit of 2015 continues to see increased ticket sales during what can be the harshest time of the year for Broadway theatres. Broadway producers will be anxiously eyeing advanced sales for the coming months, as well as daily and weekly grosses.